Home2017Delayed flight blues for Sri Lankan Karuna brothers

Delayed flight blues for Sri Lankan Karuna brothers

They endured a 15-hour flight via Tokyo and Sri Lanka's Karuna brothers – Niluka, 32, and Dinuka, 29 – barely made it in time to Ho Chi Minh City – venue for the inaugural Robot Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships.

It was a long, long journey for the brothers who reached Ho Chi Minh at 8am on Tuesday – just five hours before their first match against fourth seeds Malaysia which they lost 5-0.

Although tired and sleepy, Niluka was the first to take the court and played Malaysia's Soong Joo Ven in the singles. Joo Ven won 21-8, 21-17 to even the head to head count between the two players to 1-1.

The defeat was not a surprise for Niluka, who is a 15-time Sri Lanka champion in his 16 years with the national team. Niluka is a two-time Olympian having competed in the 2012 London Olympics and the Rio Olympics last year.
"Age is not a factor for me as I thrive to take badminton to a higher level in my country. I just want to see the game grow and more younger players take up the sport," said the lanky. 

"I am now focused on this year's world championships in Glasgow in August," said the lanky Niluka.

He has also set his sights on next year's Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games before deciding on his badminton career. Badminton has also seen him remain single.

"I am married to badminton for now," added Niluka who also laments the lack of support for the shuttle sport from the authorities.

Cricket is a religion in Sri Lanka and the bat and ball game is considered a "rich sport" as it is where the sponsors go for mileage.     

The 5-0 hammering at the hands of Malaysia in their opening Group B match in the Robot Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships was expected as Niluka knows of the wide gap in the sport between the two countries.

In their second match on Wednesday the Sri Lankan team received another 5-0 beating – this time from Indonesia. 

In a Group A match Taiwan handed Hong Kong a 4-1 defeat – which knocked Hong Kong out of contention from a place in the knockout stage. Hong Kong were beaten 5-0 by top seeds China in the first match on Tuesday.
 

RESULTS

GROUP A
TAIWAN  4      HONG KONG  1
(Taiwan first)
MS: Chou Tien Chen beat Angus Ng Ka Long 21-14, 21-19
WS: Chiang Mei Hui beat Cheung Nagn Yi 21-15, 13-21, 22-20
MD: Lee Jhe-huei-Lee Yang beat Or Chin Chung-Tang Chun Man 21-14, 21-10
WD: Hsu Ya Ching-Wu Ti Jung beat Poon Lok Yan-Tse Ying Suet 23-21, 18-21, 21-15
XD: Lee Chia-hsin-Wang Chi Lin lost Chau Hoi Wah-Reginald Lee Chun Hei 15-21, 21-18, 18-21

GROUP B
INDONESIA   5     SRI LANKA   0
(Indonesia first)
MS: Muhammad Bayu Pangisthu beat Niluka Karunaratne 21-14, 21-18
WS: Hanna Ramadini beat Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa 21-13, 22-20
MD: Angga Pratama-Ricky Karanda Suwardi beat Dinuka Karunaratna-Niluka Karunaratne 21-6, 21-13
WD: Anggia Shitta Awanda-Mahadewi Istirani Ni Ketut beat Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa 21-17, 21-12
XD: Edi Subaktiar-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja-Renu Hettiarachige-Dinuka Karunaratna 21-14, 21-9 
 

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